3 great reasons to head off-shore this weekend

Coney Island Park, a new kelong in Pulau Ubin and up-and-coming Batam eco-resort Funtasy Island has made an off-shore retreat from the city even sexier. With (almost) clear blue skies on the horizon; here are some ideas for a quick getaway.


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1. Dine at a kelong

Move on from prawning and hook bigger fish from a “sure catch pond” at Smith Marine, a modern floating fish farm along Pulau Ubin. There are sea bass and snappers available for anglers ($15 per catch) and once you’ve snagged one, you can have it cooked by the restaurant’s chef for an extra $35 per fish. For a complete seafood feast, the menu also offers specialities like chili crab, lala bee hoon, cereal sotong and steamed prawns. Call the restaurant for a spot—they’ll help with booking a ferry there and planning a full-day itinerary which includes fishing and dinner.


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Uncle Tan’s Kelong is another lesser-known fish farm at Pulau Ubin. Visitors will be given a tour of Mr Tan’s home, comprising an outdoor dining platform, living area and farm housed on a rustic wooden attap compound on stilts. You can order off a menu of home-style zi char items but if you’d like something different, just ask in advance—no promises though, as your request depends on the availability of ingredients. Some dishes to look forward to are steamed prawns, flower crabs, steamed snapper and fried squid. To arrange for a tour, call Mr Tan at 8142-2223.


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2. Spot endangered animals at Coney Island Park

Avid bird watchers can give Sungei Buloh a rest, for now. At this newly-opened nature sanctuary, attractions include 80 species of birds like the nationally critically endangered spotted wood owl, black-crowned night heron and the nationally endangered red junglefowl. There are also rare plants thought to be nationally extinct, and a single Brahman bull. Sign up for a guided walk here, which covers the 600 sq. meter Haw Par Beach Villa, designed by leading ‘30’s architect Ho Kwong Yew and built by the Haw Par brothers of the Tiger Balm ointment fame.

3. Indulge in a tree-top retreat

Funtasy Island may not be ready until the first quarter of next year, but until then, you can still opt for a luxurious off-shore staycation at the Tree-Top Lofts at Resorts World Sentosa. The modern resort is hidden up in a canopy of trees and you’ll be surrounded by thick foliage, with a view of the island. Go all out and order a personalized 24-hour butler service or hit up the upscale ESpa, which offers relaxing hot stone body therapies and revitalizing cleansing rituals.